With vivid images and videos of a burning Australia, and words such as “apocalyptic” and “atomic” being flung about, the tourism industry needs to quickly deploy a plan that is sensitive and achievable.
The peak Chinese New Year holiday season starts in just three weeks. Australia’s tourism industry has plenty to lose if it does not provide a more coordinated response to assuage travelers’ concerns on whether it’s safe and attractive to holiday Down Under, as our report below shows.
To be sure, it’s a delicate balance to rally around communities and tourism areas worst hit by the bushfires and to be worrying about cancellations. In this our hearts go out to Australia’s tourism stakeholders.
There are, however, businesses in unaffected areas that need tourists, and there are travelers who need answers. At present, it may seem visitors are being asked to go figure it out for themselves, even though that surely isn’t the intention. Tourism Australia’s visitor or corporate websites, for example, carry no updates on its most popular destinations. Instead, the tourism organization provides links to the websites of the rural fire services and national parks in the various Australian states and territories.
A national crisis communications plan is needed — after all, the disaster has been described in terrifying terms such as “apocalyptic” and “an atomic bomb.” But communication has been muted so far, which is ironic. For if there’s a destination that is most adept at using public relations to gain publicity in the media, it’s Australia.
Perhaps this oversight is due to the shock of the bushfires’ severity or the fact that people are just returning to work from the New Year holidays.
Hopefully the PR machinery is being cranked up to send out the right messages.
Update: Tourism Australia has since updated its website to include a summary of its most popular destinations for international travelers, and whether they have been impacted by the current bushfires or are safe to visit. It updates the list regularly.
Skift Stories and More Expert Insights
The Megatrends Defining Travel in 2020: From the new role of subscription travel to the importance of urban living innovations and the impact of Gen Z, these are among the megatrends in travel we’re watching in 2020.
Tourism Australia Fights Another Fire: Stemming Potential Cancellations: Bookings to Australia from international markets such as Asia, where millions will be traveling during the upcoming Chinese New Year holiday season, are said to be holding up. A lot of businesses are hoping that’s the case. Australia can do with some cheer.
Months of Unprecedented Fires Ravage Australia’s Tourism Industry: The tragic state of the wildfires raging across Australia bodes well for nothing — including the country’s tourism industry.
Minor’s NH Swoops Up Portfolio Paving Way for More Anantara Hotels in Europe: Getting not one but eight fancy hotels in prime locations in Europe in one fell swoop is a rare deal, and Thailand’s Minor International is off to a good start in 2020 with this coup by its subsidiary NH Hotel Group.
Why Did U.S.-Based Dream Hotels Drop Its Asia Expansion? Dream Hotel Group had a choppy start in its attempt to expand in Asia. Now it seems to have given up on that dream.
Developers Open New Hotels in Hong Kong Despite Plunge in Revenue: Two of the city’s wealthiest families have each opened a new hotel even though protests have severely crimped revenues.
Thailand’s Lebua Hotels Plans Public Listing to Fund New Concepts and Overseas Expansion: Deepak Ohri positioned a brand on a global scale with just one hotel. The CEO of Lebua Hotels & Resorts thinks the time has come to grow the network. But each Lebua will be different. No doubt a common trait is that each will be audacious.
Bold and Outrageous Predictions for the Travel Industry in 2020: Skift editors pushed the envelope on making predictions for the New Year. They did not disappoint, from Amazon buying Expedia to JetBlue going away. What we are really trying to do here is prepare our readers for more of the unexpected in 2020 — and we’ll be there to cover it.
The Most Important Story in Tourism in 2019: While the story of tourism in chaotic Hong Kong is specific to that place, it also points to the tenuousness of the global tourism industry as a whole.
Asia Editor Raini Hamdi [firstname.lastname@example.org] curates the Skift Asia Weekly newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Wednesday.
Subscribe to Skift Pro
Subscribe to Skift Pro to get unlimited access to stories like these ($30/month)Subscribe Now
Photo credit: With the world seeing vivid images such as this, Australia tourism needs a crisis communications plan. Bloomberg